The best tech gizmo you don’t have: Apple’s iSight

“I have recently purchased my parents a gift. It is the best gift I have ever given them, ever, and that includes the egg cooker and the ‘Avengers’ DVD collection and the scale-model sailboat. After converting my entire family over to Apple gear years ago, and since I myself use Apple’s instant messenger client, iChat, well, one day it finally hit me like a long overdue brick to the skull of obviousness. Oh my God. They need an iSight, Apple’s insanely simple, beautifully designed, plug-and-play Web camera. I’ll get one too, I thought, and we’ll be able to see each other whenever we want and it will be heartwarming and touching and fun, and man oh man what a good and thoughtful kid I am,” Mark Morford writes for The San Francisco Gate.

“Oh my God, how right I was. What a difference this thing makes. The parents are thrilled. Amazed. I couldn’t have bought them a better gift had it been front-row tickets to see Neil Diamond on the moon. They are now within visual range, whenever they feel like it and whenever I feel like it and they are right there, on screen, waving hello, making eye contact, laughing and looking cute. Screw the telephone. This is how it should be,” Morford writes.

“I do not know why this is not touted more highly,” Morford writes. “I do not know why the world is not screaming for these gorgeous little appliances as the savior of a million relationships and a godsend for phone sex and a blessing on all families worldwide, not to mention small-business owners who can hold meetings with clients calling from anywhere in the nation. Do millions of people use these things already and I just don’t know about it? Maybe. But it sure isn’t part of the mainstream culture.”

Full article here.

iSight and iChat AV – like the Mac itself – just another two Apple triumphs that go largely unadvertised and completely unknown by the vast majority of people.

Related articles:
Apple’s iSight camera and microphone good for much more than just video chat – November 19, 2004
Network World Fusion’s 2003 Cool Tools Best of the Tests Award: Apple iSight camera – February 23, 2004
Apple’s iChat AV, iSight ‘powerful’ but ‘lack of ubiquity’ could be blindspot – August 28, 2003
Wall Street Journal’s Mossberg: Apple’s iChat/iSight teleconferencing ‘vastly better than any other – August 13, 2003
LA Times: iChat AV is ‘first practical software’ for teleconferencing; a ‘huge step up’ – August 11, 2003
Chicago Sun Times columnist: iChat isn’t the first, just the best videoconferencing tool – August 05, 2003
Time Magazine: iChat AV and iSight more examples of Apple’s ‘better execution and design’ – July 20, 2003
Apple’s iSight ‘just about everything a user wants to see in a webcam’ – July 04, 2003
Apple introduces iChat AV and iSight; video conferencing for ‘The Rest of Us’ – June 23, 2003


  1. iSight is great and a truly high quality device with awesome software in iChatAV to match.

    One downside is that even mounted atop my iMac G5 (with integrated magnet point in the dead center of the case – nice touch Apple!) I still find myself “looking down” in the image because I am not looking right at the camera but just below it at the screen.

    Apple needs to invent some teleprompter screen camera thing. Come on Jobs, what’s the hold up?

    MDN word: week

  2. The man is right. Everyone I’ve shown iChat/iSight in operation to has been gobsmacked by the quality of both video and audio. “You mean video conferencing doesn’t have to be all jerky and with the sound constantly dropping out?!!” It really is a revolution in the way people can communicate…

  3. The reason they’re not touted so highly is because ever since Tiger there have been so many problems with iChat that video conferencing is almost unusable.

    It’s amazing how something that “just worked” with Panther has gone to crap so quickly with Tiger. Recent point releases have helped, but I still have people I can’t video chat with anymore despite a perfect, full-screen, TV like quality video conference before.

    I’d have bought the rest of my family a Mac mini *and* an iSight if this had worked as well after the Tiger update.


  4. I personally think if Apple would develop a PC version of iChat (drivers for iSight as well), they sure would sell a ton more. Most of my friends love the iSight but aren’t ready to “switch” just to see my ugly mug.

  5. “”Oh my God, how right I was.”

    Always love it when people start out with God’s name in vain to make a point. Anywho, I agree iSight is great. I just wish iChat had 1/100 the bells and whistles of MSN Messenger (Windows version). “Insanely simple” is getting “Insanely boring” for me. Anyone who has used MSN Messenger for Windows knows what I mean.

  6. To quote Madonna “That’s so duh”. I’m in the process of converting my family over to the Mac. And one of the very first things I thought about was how great it’s going to be to video conference with them when ever I or they wanted 0_o…. on second thought maybe that’s not such a good idea. Just kidding Mom! Luv you!.

    MDW: ‘Off’ as in “You can now show-off how well they waxed your behind with the aid of iChat–girlfriend will love that.’ :p

  7. I really want to get one for my sister. It’s funny, we only talk via iChat audio now because she dumped her land line for a cell phone only to find her cell service is not that great at home. iChat audio works great for us though. Video will be even better.

  8. The isight product is very nice indeed, but ichat needs to step up in a big way. I really wished that they were able to mitigate the issues that will not allow Gtalk to communicate with it (over audio). While ichat works great with aol. but like for people in australia who operate aim messenger 5.0 (i believe) video conferenceing will not work with them (and thats a whole freaking country).. and even if you download the USA build of the product the login does not work right. I think they should have worked with google…

    I believe they (GOOG, AAPL) were planning to work together anway on a goolge/itunes project .. which of course would mean more money for me but oh well.. apple does not make a good partner ( as Rob Enderle would say)..

    Music Label Executive – ANON – is here to stay!

  9. It is a real shame that Apple doesn’t promote this stuff better. My family has had this same experience. I carry my iSight with me everywhere I travel so that my daughters and I can stay in visual contact.

  10. “The Best Gizmo You Don’t Have
    See parents. Check on pets. Stare into a lover’s eyes. Or up her dress. Buy one now”

    What the Hell!?! Up her dress? I’m a perv myself but I know when and when not to mention certain topics…. he needs a light slap in the face!

    MDW: ‘Work’ as ‘ She works hard for the money, so hard for it honey’. lol 😀

  11. I love my iSight, though I don’t use it nearly as much as I thought I would.

    I’ve been able to take friends on virtual tours of my apartment with my iSight, PowerBook and Airport. I even stuck the camera out the window to show the view up and down my street. Everyone flipped!

    I wanted to get my Bulgarian in-laws (who live in Bulgaria), a Mac mini and iSight and dump the PeeSea box. But they were afraid to have a Mac because “no one in Bulgaria uses a Mac” and where would they get support? I could see how this might be problematic for others as well, even though we all KNOW that Macs need so much less maintainance that your generic PC box!

    Anyway, we got them hooked on Skype and can speak whenever we like. I STILL may have to force a Mac on them, just because it would be cool to see them and talk to them!

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